October 22, 2007

"Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops..."

According to the Iraq Interior Ministry.

And bin Laden pipes up and tells his people they've been "lax."

33 comments:

Mr. Grumpy said...

I wonder what Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf is doing these days...

B said...

Can't wait for the anti-Bush spin on how it's not a "real number".

Let's see if even one anti-war commenter can say that at the least, this is a good thing.

Mr. Grumpy said...

It's hard to believe any casualty figures from the Iraq Interior Ministry. Here's part of what Reuters reported with the release of casualty numbers in June:

The United Nations has rebuked Iraq's government for refusing to disclose the politically sensitive civilian casualty figures in what it calls a "rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis".

Maliki's government has accused the U.N. mission in Iraq of exaggerating the death toll from sectarian violence between majority Shi'ite Muslims and minority Sunni Arabs, and banned Iraqi officials from releasing data.

The U.N. mission said in January that 34,452 civilians were killed and more than 36,000 wounded in 2006. These figures were much higher than any issued by Iraqi government officials.

hdhouse said...

b....i'll just leave you in anticipation while i do some fact checking.

but i'll just tease you a little bit with all the violence in july and august and the excuse being that all the troops "weren't even in place yet" yada yada yada....

am i glad there are fewer deaths and less violence? sure enough. do i see any political solution in the offing? naw. is the whole thing going to go in the crapper when turkey invades. yup.

bush now wants 200 billion. a mindless sum. now that things are going so well the number goes up. inflation? last chance for the pigs at the trough?

but i won't spin "b"....i'll just tell the truth.

MadisonMan said...

You are an insurgent in a country. Those against whom you are insurging surge, adding to their numbers. Do you (a) continue your insurgency, i.e., commit suicide or (b) lay low for a while? The real test of the surge comes, as I've said before here, when the high tide recedes. Less carnage is good. Is it sustainable?

Meanwhile, have the Iraqi politicians done anything useful? And what's going on in Kurdistan?

Gedaliya said...

Bush now wants 200 billion. a mindless sum.

In a $13 trillion dollar economy? Get real.

do i see any political solution in the offing? naw.

The purpose of the "surge" was to effectuate a reduction in violence sufficient enough to enable normal politics to occur. The give-and-take of political compromise is impossible while sectarian violence rages unabated.

If this trend continues, and there is every reason to suspect it will, do you really believe that no progress will occur on the political front? I hope, hdhouse, that you are possessed of enough intellectual honesty to admit that we just may have finally figured out how to win this Iraq war, and I hope that you'll be among those who cheer lustily if and when we do.

Fred Soto said...

b: clearly we're "winning the war". Last week we all but wiped Al Qaida off the face of the earth, this week violence has dropped to a near standstill. Surely those crazy anti-War people would bow down before the great job the President is doing!

Really, if you think the "war on terror" (tm) is headed in the right direction, then another trillion or two is just a drop in the bucket. After all, we are "good men doing something". Next stop? Iran! Let's get 'em while we are on a roll, YEEHAW!

Sloanasaurus said...

This is old but still fabulous news.

What a great history this will be to read.

At some moment in time there was a tipping point that led to a flood of Iraqis throwing in their lot with the U.S. Military. It is now an unstoppable wave. There is no going back for them. We have won the war (now, Iran is the bigger threat). Al Qaeda will slowly drift into irrelevance. What arab wants to join them now after total defeat.

Our military did a tremendous job -despite the anti-war opposition at home that probably helped sustain al qaeda for an extra year. Despite this anti war media, our military managed to convince the Iraqis that we were staying for the long haul.

President Bush was also tremendous. He never gave into the forces against him and kept firm despite losing Congress and record low approval ratings.

Bush and our soldiers will get credit for this great victory.

Clinton and/or Obama are going to have to defend themselves next fall. They will have to come up with an argument as to why voters should vote for them when their advice was to pull out of Iraq immediatly. We know now that pulling out would have led to defeat and a take over by Al Qaeda.

Balfegor said...

You are an insurgent in a country. Those against whom you are insurging surge, adding to their numbers. Do you (a) continue your insurgency, i.e., commit suicide or (b) lay low for a while? The real test of the surge comes, as I've said before here, when the high tide recedes. Less carnage is good. Is it sustainable?

But see, if they had thought that way, they'd have waited for us to pull out in 2004, and then started in on the carnage. Then they wouldn't even have had to fight an insurgency against American troops! They could have got straight to the beheading.

I wouldn't credit them with that much strategic thought, considering that they failed to deploy it earlier, when it would have been really valuable to them. Throwing away your most fervent supporters fighting an enemy who is keen to leave, has been obviously keen to leave from the get go, and has a 10-1 kill ratio advantage, is something like the height of stupidity. We're supposed to believe they suddenly woke up and realised that if they would just stop killing civilians for a few months, the Americans would go home?

Anyhow, as it is now, that belated insight -- if it has long last dawned on them -- is almost certainly wrong. The chances of our withdrawing combat forces without leaving a massive permanent occupation force, like the occupation forces in Germany, Korea, and Japan, is rapidly approaching 0. Rumsfeld wanted us to be in and out quick, with a light footprint and all that, so they might have been able to get that deal while he was still in place. But his successors don't seem to have any such ambition. Too late.

Fred Soto said...

Sloan: Assuming you're serious... here is the rebuttal:

read with a sarcastic tone

This is old but still fabulous news.

What a great history this will be to read.

At some moment in time there was a tipping point that led to a flood of Iraqis throwing in their lot with the U.S. Military. It is now an unstoppable wave. There is no going back for them. We have won the war (now, Iran is the bigger threat). Al Qaeda will slowly drift into irrelevance. What arab wants to join them now after total defeat.

Our military did a tremendous job -despite the anti-war opposition at home that probably helped sustain al qaeda for an extra year. Despite this anti war media, our military managed to convince the Iraqis that we were staying for the long haul.

President Bush was also tremendous. He never gave into the forces against him and kept firm despite losing Congress and record low approval ratings.

Bush and our soldiers will get credit for this great victory.

Clinton and/or Obama are going to have to defend themselves next fall. They will have to come up with an argument as to why voters should vote for them when their advice was to pull out of Iraq immediately. We know now that pulling out would have led to defeat and a take over by Al Qaeda.
-------------------------------

But seriously:

I don't wish defeat upon the troops, I don't hate God, and I don't love seeing America fail because of my anti-War sentiment. I welcome GOOD news, but it is difficult to trust news that isn't the following:

"The troops are coming home."

In fact, even if that were the phrase uttered by the President to our Press, I'd be skeptical. I, like many Americans, don't trust the "Mission Accomplished" statements that help keep dissenters and the media at bay. I don't trust trust the press to keep me adequately informed about political affairs, it is not a free press and informed and media don't go well together.

Nothing is real until the rhetoric is converted into action by our so-called leadership. It saddens me when I see well educated individuals oblivious to the realities of war, religious, territorial and global conflict, and American politics. We are all contributing to a very serious problem and I can't imagine things will get better any time soon.

Balfegor said...

Clinton and/or Obama are going to have to defend themselves next fall. They will have to come up with an argument as to why voters should vote for them when their advice was to pull out of Iraq immediately.

I know Clinton hasn't actually come out and said she's going to pull out of Iraq immediately. Someone put her on the spot, and I think she wouldn't even commit to withdrawing before 2012. Obama is pretty much the same. 40,000-60,000 troops is not a small commitment. That's in the same range as the forces in Korea and Japan.

For the Iraqi insurgency, the window in which America remains willing to withdraw completely has pretty much closed. They missed their chance.

Balfegor said...

All that said, I can almost guarantee you that someone will satisfy your desire. Someone will tell you:

"The troops are coming home."

And it will be a lie.

Mr. Forward said...

"Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields forever

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see"

John Lennon

"No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news."

http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/resistance-is-futile.htm


Coalition casualties
August - 84
September - 65
Oct to date - 28

Iraqi civilian casualties
August - 1,674
September - 848
Oct. to date - 474

http://icasualties.org/oif/

Bruce Hayden said...

Would it really be all that bad to have a continuing presence in Iraq? I do think that we need to remove most of the ground troops in the next couple of years, but also expect that we will be able to do so fairly easily.

The problem, which is probably why Hi.llary! is waffling, is that of support troops and in particular air support. That will take a bit longer for the Iraqis to replace. Indeed, while many of the Iraqi army units are gaining a fair amount of experience and competence, the one place where most are coming up short is in the support area, which we continue to provide.

But will that be all that bad if we keep some military there? After all, Clinton had military in Saudi/Kuwait and Turkey for his entire term enforcing the No Fly Zone. And, indeed, that may be a decent metric to judge success - Can the commitment level be brought down below the comparable (Bill) Clinton level?

Bruce Hayden said...

Over at Captain's Quarters, one commenter asked whether the Iraqis would ever be our friends. Another responded that not having them as enemies would be sufficient.

But the Anbar Awakening, the Surge, and in particular, the embedding of our soldiers and marines with the Iraqis as a result of Gen. Petraeus' new tactics, has resulted in a significant increase in the respect given our troops, and hopefully as a result, our country. So many Iraqis are being given a chance to see the best of America and Americans, as they live, work, and fight side by side. Some of that is likely to wear off long term.

That said, part of the implied bargain is that we are not imperialists, that we will remove our troops as soon as it is practiable and safe to do so. At present, most there believe that we want to and they want us to. So, one of the bit incentives for Iraqis to sign up with their army or police is to advance the time that we can mostly leave. And, thus, a lot of the good will that we are building up right now would be squandered if we didn't pull out when we have won and can pull out safely.

Mr. Grumpy said...

According to sloanasaurus, now would be a good time for Lil' George to jump into his flight suit. Just in time for Halloween too. Raise the "Mission Accomplished" banner again! Hurrah!

Do you think the "anti-war media" will cover the big celebration this time around? Or will they ignore the whole "Bush plays pilot/war hero" stunt again?

Karridine said...

"The troops are coming home" is, in itself, a misleading statement.

When there IS a 'front' or a main 'theater of battle', it can be a truthful and forthright sentence to say, "The troops are coming home."

However, the reality now extant around the world is that BY BRINGING TROOPS out of Iraq before the Iraqi armed forces are fully prepared to defend their nation, their people, America would condemn those very troops to CONTINUE THE FIGHT against Islamo-fascism in whatever place(s) those troops were redeployed.

THAT is the nature, the distinguishing characteristic, of a global war: the conflict is pandemic, erupting in small amounts everywhere that the Islamo-thugs can mount an attack on unarmed civilians.

Iraqis, like most Muslims, are waiting in a state of forced ignorance of the Coming of Baha'u'llah, and when deprived by their obstructive and obfuscative clergy of the knowledge of His coming, His Teachings and the International Community that bears His name, they continue to fall prey to the petty abusers among their imams and mullahs who tell them that they, Muslims, are the elite among mankind, because they're "obedient and submissive" to the most recent Messenger of God.

Informing Iraqis and Iranians that the long-promised Qaim came May 23, 1260AH/1844AD, and the Mahdi came and lived among humans from 1853-1892 would catalyze the transformational power now latent in the Muslim community world-wide, and would allow all Muslims, everywhere, to begin their journey toward the Messenger of God, for THIS Day and Age.

Daryl said...

I don't want to give Bush too much credit. We stopped losing/treading water only because he dumped the pie-in-the-sky zealots who wanted to reform Iraqi culture from top to bottom, starting by getting rid of tribal leaders.

Now, we're finally working with the tribal leaders instead of against them. The leaders like us because we have money, guns, we're treating them with respect, we've shown that we're willing to bleed and bleed and not give up, and al Qaida has acted like absolute depraved animals.

We have some common-sense leadership now. Gen. David Petraeus is a brilliant man and an excellent leader.

We should have been working with these leaders from the beginning. I don't want to be so presumptuous as to second-guess the strategies chosen by our military leaders, but I will criticize the meta-strategy: instead of pursuing a single nation-wide strategy, the commanders should have experimented with different strategies in different places. That's the way to learn the fastest and in 4GW the speed at which you can learn is one of the most important parts of a long-term plan.

hdhouse said...

well it is so nice to see Gedalya and sloanasaurus turn logic on its head.

I honestly think the worst thing intellectually is to flip flop conclusions when faced with the same set of facts.

what's 200 billion in a 13 trillion economy? that one i love. then what is 40 billion for Schip?

this is just crap propaganda utterings from you folks and since we have to consider the source here, as illogical as the adminstrations daily press briefings.

Gedaliya said...

this is just crap propaganda utterings from you folks and since we have to consider the source here, as illogical as the adminstrations daily press briefings.

Tut-tut. Is the best you can do? Mutter about "crap propaganda"? Why not answer the questions? Why not address the issues?

Do you think there has been a tipping point in our prosecution of this war? If so, are you glad? If not, do you propose we abandon the field immediately?

...what is 40 billion for Schip?

A rank vote-buying scheme by cynical politicians who know damn well it will cause more problems than it solves.

Paco Wové said...

"Bush and our soldiers will get credit for this great victory."

Methinks this a wee bit premature.

Gedaliya said...

Methinks this a wee bit premature.

Ok...stipulated.

When will it not be "a wee bit premature"? Six months from now?

When?

Les said...

You are an insurgent in a country. Those against whom you are insurging surge, adding to their numbers. Do you (a) continue your insurgency, i.e., commit suicide or (b) lay low for a while? The real test of the surge comes, as I've said before here, when the high tide recedes. Less carnage is good. Is it sustainable?

The problem with Al Quada faces is that laying low is a losing option.

Most of Al Quada in Iraq's (AQI)forces are foreigners. They need the local's help in order to effectivly lay low and avoid detection without starving to death.

How can AQI get the local's help? Well, they are not nearly as good infrastructure providers as the US, and their promises of being able to drive the US forces out have not exactly borne fruit.

That leaves terror. Thus, AQI have assassinated various Sunni leaders, and as readers of Michael Yon's posts know, they have slaughtered at least one village.

The problem is, terrorizing the people into compliance only works when AQI is the strongest power in the neighborhood. Constant US patrols that AQI cannot stop tend to encourage the locals to give anonymous tips to AQI's hideouts.

Granted, AQI is not the only problem in Iraq, but its failure to gain any real ground has hit its credibility hard. Their actions against fellow Muslims have led to their condemnation even amongst certain extremists. That in itself is noteworthy.

Paco Wové said...

"When will it not be 'a wee bit premature'? Six months from now? "

Arbitrary dates aren't useful.

Militarily, if we can pull out the vast bulk of our forces and AQI does not return, and major sectarian fighting does not erupt, I will consider that victory.

Politically, if we can pull out our forces and leave a country that is more functional than, say, Pakistan, I will consider that a victory, also.

We need both. One without the other will have achieved us little.

buck smith said...

A long term presence of US troops in Iraq would be a tremendous benefit to the US and the Middle East. One of the rarely stated benefits of being in iraq is the intelligence value. Think about it - jihadis from all over the world come to Iraq to fight. US troops are constantly going on patrol detaining people, interrogating them and releasing them. It is a situation rich with opportunities to create double agents.

The desire to get all the troops home is a stupid goal. US Troops have never come home from Germany, Jpana and South Korea.

Paco Wové said...

I agree, getting all the troops out is not the point.

"Think about it - jihadis from all over the world come to Iraq to fight. US troops are constantly going on patrol detaining people, interrogating them and releasing them. It is a situation rich with opportunities to create double agents."

Somehow, if I were an Iraqi, I would find this to be a very bad outcome.

Gedaliya said...

Arbitrary dates aren't useful.

You're the one who said that predicting victory is "a bit premature." As such, it is logical to assume that you have some sense of when it won't be "premature" to predict victory.

So...when won't it be "premature"?

We need both. One without the other will have achieved us little.

We will have troops in Iraq for at least the next 25 years.

M. Simon said...

I welcome GOOD news, but it is difficult to trust news that isn't the following:

"The troops are coming home."


I hear things are going badly in Germany these days and South Korea is a mess. Japan of course is a total loss.

hdhouse said...

M. Simon...hmmm

We still have troops in Germany and still base in Japan and S. Korea is, well a front line combat zone (technically still at war). What part of long term occupational forces don't you understand?

Bush got us in there for the duration and that may be the duration of our lifetimes. Commitments like that aren't done on a whim. Occupying Iraq for the next 50 years is a reality. Bush's rationale was a whim.

Jamie said...

"Occupying" Iraq - are we "occupying" South Korea, then? My dad was stationed in England when I was in high school; were we part of an "occupying" force? When an ally nation agrees to accept some number of foreign military personnel on its soil, it's not generally considered "occupation," I don't think. The thing here is to get Iraq firmly into the ally camp.

buck smith said...

Paco

Somehow, if I were an Iraqi, I would find this to be a very bad outcome.

That's why they came over to our side to fight to the jihadi's. I guess you say the war in Iraq allowed us to conscript a lot people in the Mid-East to fight Al Qaeda with us. I don't see anything wrong with that. The modern jihadi movement has deep roots in the Middle East. Middle Easterners should bear the brunt of stopping it before things get really ugly.

Paco Wové said...

"So...when won't it be "premature"?"

Ummm... you did read my comment, right? I thought I spelled it out there. In oversimple terms, when we can pull out the great majority of our troops and not have the place collapse.

Note, I didn't say all troops. If things go very well, we will have some troops there for decades. But they won't be getting targeted by IEDs. If things go well.

Fen said...

That's why they came over to our side to fight to the jihadi's. I guess you say the war in Iraq allowed us to conscript a lot people in the Mid-East to fight Al Qaeda with us

Even more important, Al Queda was forced to reveal its true self to the muslim population. It caused the Sunni to switch sides against them. Iraqi's will spread the word around the ME and debunk the AQ myth and glamour.

Gee, sounds like part of long-term strategy to marginalize radical Islam...

Hat tip to the Lefties here performing mental backflips to deny any good news. Very entertaining.